LAS VEGAS — Winter storms in the U.S. Southwest brought snow to places it rarely falls, dusting casino marquees on the Las Vegas Strip and sticking at very low elevations on the foothills around Southern California.

“No need to panic Los Angeles – the LAPD is on snow watch,” the city’s Police Department tweeted, along with video of a light flurry.

Snow fell in the Santa Monica Mountains above the Malibu coast. In the nearby celebrity haven of Calabasas, actor Jerry O’Connell recorded video of himself as snow fell on his car and quickly melted. “It is snowing in Calabasas – crazy,” he said.

Earlier, the storm coated large areas of desert northeast of Los Angeles, temporarily halting traffic on various state routes.

The rare snowfall at low elevations in Nevada prompted revelers to erect a snowman near the famous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign.

The weather service reported the first significant snowfall at McCarran International Airport in a decade with 0.8 inches falling by Thursday afternoon.

“We don’t have snowplows,” airport spokeswoman Christine Crews said as she tallied about 100 flight cancellations because of snow and ice. “But we have airfield maintenance vehicles and sweepers ready to go.”

Some suburban foothill areas near Las Vegas were white after getting several inches of snow. On the casino-lined Las Vegas Strip, the snow was fleeting, melting faster than a gambler’s luck.

“We expected cold, but not snow,” tourist Lila de Guerrero said after taking a photo at the Las Vegas sign wearing a puffer coat and hat.

De Guerrero, from El Salvador, said it was the first snow she had ever seen.


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